George’s chemo ended on Day-4 and on Day -3, he started his TBI (total body irradiation). The transport folks come and get him very early in the morning, between 5:30 and 6:00 and wheel him down to the radiation department. He lies on his side the entire time and the staff there plays some classic rock music for him, per his request. All in all, the session lasts about an hour. He is irradiated on one side and then the machine moves to his other side – he doesn’t have to move. This process is repeated in the afternoon, so he has TBI twice a day.
Before going down, he is given an anti-nausea medicine called Zofran and an anti-anxiety pill called Atavan. Both of the medicines seem to make George drowsy, but he is glad for them.
So far, George has not had any ill side effects from the chemo or the radiation. He has been very fortunate! I read blogs from others who have loved ones who were diagnosed with AML around the same time as George and it seems they have battled nausea and vomiting since their first chemo in January! One so pervasively, he developed PTSD – when presented with food, he was triggered because he associated it with vomiting. It’s really amazing…not sure if my man is super human or just lucky, but we will take it…all day every day! The good news is, the patient I just mentioned has already undergone their stem cell transplant and is at home, and seems to be doing well!
Tomorrow is Day Zero. The big day! George will receive his donor bone marrow cells! It will be his second “birth day!”
He is expected to feel poorly starting next week, as the chemo and radiation start lowering his blood counts and making a place for his donor cells to start making clean, disease free marrow. He will also be at great risk for infection or neutropenic fever, which the nurse said is an “oncological emergency.” But George’s health care team is very knowledgeable, experienced and ready to manage any symptoms that may arise starting next week.
Let’s go, George!